Debbie Allen discusses why Lisa Bonet left "A Different World"

In Archive interview, Debbie Allen discusses her beginnings in the entertainment industry. She talks of dancing and her Tony nomination for her role as "Anita" in West Side Story and winning the Drama Desk Award. She recounts her various roles on television, including an appearance on Good Times and Captain Kangaroo, as well as her role in Roots: The Next Generation as "Nan."

She then speaks about her part in the film "Fame" and how that lead to one of the most famous roles of her television career, playing "Lydia Grant" on the TV version of Fame. She elaborates on wearing many hats on the show - as an actress, choreographer, and eventually director and co-executive producer.
She also discusses its deep resonance with audiences and how the show inspired and encouraged the creation of dance schools all over the world. Allen then describes how she was brought on to the show A Different World as the director and how she made the show more relevant to the times by covering topics pertinent to young adults, and tackling such subjects as AIDS and the Gulf War.

She also mentions her involvement as a director on the shows Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Grey's Anatomy, and Everybody Hates Chris and describes what it was like choreographing sequences for the Academy Awards for ten years. Allen discusses her Emmy win for her choreography on the dance number, "African American Odyssey" for the special, Motown 30, What's Going On? and then elaborates on producing "Amistad," a film project near and dear to her heart.

She shares her views on the current popularity of reality dance TV shows and also recalls working with her sister, Phylicia Rashad, on the TV movies Old Settler and Polly. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy on April 15, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA.

See her full interview at:

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